“Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.”
1 Peter 2:11 NLT
We often hear statements like ‘when you are in Rome, you behave like the Romans’. Many have taken this saying as a license to compromise the truths and standards they believe in. While it is important to mingle with the people we find around us, we must be disciplined to draw the line where necessary and say NO! to compromise.
The book of 1 Peter was written as a letter from Peter “…to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” (1 Peter 1:1 NLT). So, although they were sojourners in a different land, Peter thoroughly reminded them of their true identity- God’s chosen people- and the behaviour expected of them to exude.
Our anchor text is a firm instruction to stay off all forms of entanglements that will derail us from living our lives as people who have been consecrated to God. The next verse says: “Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honourable behaviour, and they will give honour to God when he judges the world.” (1 Peter 2:12 NLT)
Living a life of integrity is not a herculean task, as some make it sound. In fact, it should be our default nature as sons of God. The Bible provides us with precedents as proof that we can and should follow suit- Abraham (Genesis 18:19), Joseph (Genesis 39:6-10), Samuel (1 Samuel 12:3-4), Daniel (Daniel 1:8, 6:4), and most importantly, Jesus (Matthew 26:59-60).
The cultures and practices of this world are constantly bidding for our attention and acceptance. If a believer does not have clear-cut boundaries on what is and isn’t permissible as inferred from scriptures, he will slowly give in. Handclaps progress to full dance moves, so does a slight lifestyle deviation progress to full compromise.
As foreigners (sojourners) on earth, we are expected to mingle with people without compromising our integrity for the sake of fame, peer pressure, money, relationship, sense of belonging, etc.
“But as the One who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all your conduct and manner of living.” (1 Peter 1:15 AMP)
Friends, understand that what you have in God is enough, and of more value than anything else in this world. You can have ascendancy over covetousness or the fear of missing out. With contentment and focus, you can lead a life of integrity.
Bible Reading Plan:
Luke 6:27-36, Philippians 3:15-21, Psalms 119: 169-176, 2 Kings 18-19